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Vietnam minister urges sanctions against those covering up wrong-airport landing

Vietnam minister urges sanctions against those covering up wrong-airport landing

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 12:02 GMT+7

Those who deliberately suppressed the information over the recent landing at a wrong airport of a privately-run Vietnamese airline must be strictly punished, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang ordered Wednesday.

The minister issued his order after extending his apologies to passengers of the VietJet Air flight #VJ 8575, which landed at Cam Ranh along the central coast instead of Da Lat in the Central Highlands as the passengers supposed on June 19, at a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam in Hanoi.

Thang also reprimanded CAAV chief Lai Xuan Thanh for his collateral responsibility for the incident.

“The airline is directly responsible for the incident, but after all, it is also the responsibility of the state body that manages the aviation sector,” he said.

The CAAV officials failed to inform the transport ministry of the wrong-airport landing as it happened, but wasted time on discussing how the information should be released instead, according to the minister.

Minister Thang also insisted that VietJet Air look into the case and penalize those who tried to cover up the information instead of keeping the regulatory agencies informed of the incident.

The Airbus A320 aircraft carrying more than 200 passengers landed at a destination about 130km away from where it should have been, as a result of a sudden adjustment in VietJet Air’s flying plan.

The aircrew, including the Czech captain, of the very flight had been assigned to a service to Cam Ranh before they were transferred to perform duties on another to Da Lat, whose airplane underwent a technical issue prior to departure.

All cabin members but the captain was informed of the new destination, and the pilot still thought he was flying the right route until the plane was only five miles (8km) from Cam Ranh airport, in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

The air coordinators, flight attendants, captain, and first officer all failed to strictly follow the required procedures before departure, CAAV chief Thanh said.

“There were a number of systematic mistakes and the CAAV is partly responsible for it,” he admitted.

The CAAV inspected VietJet Air in April to assess its operation ability, and eventually released a warning against the airline’s fast expansion of the fleet scale, while its personnel training has developed at a slower pace.

“If the CAAV found that VietJet Air did not meet conditions to operate such a large fleet, it should have asked the carrier to stop,” Minister Thang said.

“When it released the warning, the CAAV should also have had daily supervision over VietJet Air’s operation to prevent such a incident from happening.”

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